Alfred Austin (1835 -1913) was a lawyer, journalist, newspaper editor, novelist and active representative of the Conservative party, but is best remembered today as the English Poet Laureate who succeeded Alfred Lord Tennyson. He is considered one of the least distinguished poets to have held that position, and his verse often became the subject of ridicule, especially in his later years when its coy Victorian romanticism appeared limp and jaded in comparison to the work of his greater contemporaries like Swinburne. Austin did not help his own cause by his attacks on other and more celebrated poets of his generation.
Austin’s appointment to the Poet Laureateship was widely considered as a reward for his services to the Conservative Party, and negatively affected the esteem in which the post had been held.
Austin was a prolific writer and his output includes nineteen collections of poetry. Among these is Love’s Widowhood and other poems, first published in 1889. The opening poem is a tender meditation on the grief of a woman who has lost a child. Although the verbiage is rather dated, the writing is capable and free from the infelicities which marred some of Austin’s more famous poems.
Audio edited by Denis Daly
Excerpts from Symphony number 4, by Felix Mendelssohn
Second movement - Andante con moto
Performed by the Musopen Symphony Orchestra
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